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No ransom for hackers - data expected to be used for phishing attacks

Posted by Geraldine Hunt on Wed, Jun 20th, 2012

A hacking group called ‘Rex Mundi" has tried on several occasions to extort money from businesses via phishing attacks. They ask the business to pay up for hacked data and if they don’t, the hackers leak the information obtained. The most recent data dump was announced via twitter, and involved the leaking of personal and financial information belonging to individuals who applied for loans with online loan provider AmeriCash Advance (known as a  ‘pay day lender’) after the company refused to pay $15,000 to prevent that from happening.  

Cybercriminals successful exploit demonstrates weak email security.

The latin meaning for ‘Rex Mundi’ is  King of the World, here at SpamTitan we’re wondering if the group consists of romantic teenagers that watched ‘Titanic’ one too many times or a collection of cybercriminal with hugely inflated egos.

According to CNet the leaked data contained the names and e-mail addresses of the applicants, as well as the last four digits of their Social Security numbers and the amount they requested on loan. Reports show the section of the system that the criminals hacked was the automatic e-mail responder section, that sends an auto-reply to an applicant that their application has been received.

Customers susceptible to subsequent phishing attacks.

CNet reported that AmeriCash Advance received a fax demanding a ransom payment which they refused to pay, the company then contacted the appropriate authorities and proceeded to secure their system to ensure that no other data could be accessed. Any company that have been infiltrated in this way should warn affected customers about breaches and advise them to be aware of the potential of subsequent phishing attacks.

The fear is that if this type of ransom attack becomes popular among cybercriminals the potential for grand scale phishing attacks using this information is significant. Money is the key motivator and if the ransom isn't paid the data will  provide the criminals with information to launch sophicticated phishing scams in a bid to earn money using the data.

Inaction is the worst possible scenario when it comes to network security. 

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